Monday, February 13, 2017

60 days to Peace Corps Vanuatu

On April 14th I get on an airplane traveling from Austin, TX to Los Angeles, CA to being my second tour with the Peace Corps. In approximately a month I will know where I will be living for 2 years. The 83 island nation covers 4,706+ square miles between Fiji and Australia.

I decided that I needed to leave America back in May of 2016. I've been having internal struggles. What does it mean to be an American? What am I here to do? Why do I want to stay in one place for the rest of my life when there are so many places I've never seen? It's all about the money. That is our society. Work, work, work then retire and enjoy life. Who came up with that? I can't go along with that. That's why I'm taking a break from America.

Now that that is out of the way, back to business. So I'll arrive in Port Vila on April 18 and go thru 10 weeks of training then I'll move to my site where I'll work with my community to figure out what projects I'll be tackling over my 2 years.

The process the second time around has been very different than the first time, I guess many things change in 6 years. Each volunteer had to choose a category site they would be willing to live in.

From Peace Corps:
'All sites will offer their own unique challenges and no two sites will be the same. A Category 1 site could present as many challenges (unrelated to remoteness) to a PCV as Category 4 site.  The category breakdown below is merely a guide, but even within categories there will be variations between sites:
Category 1 - Potentially large communities, no electricity, and limited water in dry season, urban setting, and gender defined roles.
Category 2 - Isolation, no electricity, limited water in dry season, potentially large communities, and gender defined roles.
Category 3 - Remote, limited food variety, no running water, isolation, no electricity, gender defined roles.
Category 4 - Remote (must hike/walk distances to access other communities/Volunteers), isolation, strong customs, no electricity, limited phone service, gender defined roles, small communities, limited/unreliable flight schedule (on outer islands).'

I said I'd be willing to live in any category, but I prefer category 4. Since then we've had a PC phone conference with the country director and other staff. Category 4 seems as though there will be no electricity, running water, cell phone reception, and it takes many days to travel from PCHQ to site. I'd get to totally live off the grid. My excitement level is through the roof. My only worry is island fever. I've never experienced that but there is a first time for everything.

I'll post a couple more times before I leave and who knows when I'll get to post after that. I won't forget about you, I ask you do the same. Until next time.